Rollerblader injury calls for action

March 8, 2013

The hit-and-run driver who struck and seriously injured rollerblader Robert C. Flanagan last Saturday evening on Rehoboth Avenue Extended near the Route 1 intersection is still at large. Unless that person comes forward and admits to their involvement - and sheds some light on what exactly went wrong - that torment will shadow the remainder of his or her life.

Investigators are working hard to try to track down the driver. This serious injury adds one more to the list of unfortunate incidents - including fatalities - over the past year in the busy Route 1 corridor from Dewey Beach north to Five Points.

Improving safety for bicyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians clearly stands out as the No. 1 problem needing attention in our area. Time is short before the weather warms and many more people will be walking and bicycling. DelDOT has plans in place to add more signalized pedestrian crossings to Route 1. If they are in place by this summer, that will help, as will placement of additional overhead lighting to mitigate the limited visibility that comes with night.

Our community will have to continue stressing safe practices for bicyclists and pedestrians to increase their personal visibility. However, in the most recent incident, rollerblader Flanagan was wearing a flashing red light and two other lights when he was struck and left lying on the shoulder of the street.

That section of Rehoboth Avenue Extended is fraught with danger. Drivers coming out of Rehoboth are merging from two lanes down to one; riders on the Junction and Breakwater Trail are entering and leaving the traffic zone in that area, and lots and lots of walkers add to the flow.

At the very least, going into this summer, DelDOT should place a physical barrier between the motor vehicle lanes and the bicycle and pedestrian lanes. Flexible pylons can be installed inexpensively and quickly, and perhaps save a life or two.

We can’t let our attention deviate from the safety problems of Route 1. We have to keep up the push for action that will make our region’s main street safer.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Dave Frederick, sports editor.